When a lot of DFS fans start playing daily fantasy baseball, they start off with a bad assumption. They assume that each site’s scoring system is identical to all the others. While our last article compared playing fantasy baseball at the top sites, this article takes a closer look at how the scoring systems match up.
2018 MLB update – FanDuel has revised the baseball scoring, updated below.
|Base On Balls Against||-0.60||-0.6|
|Complete Game Shut Out||2.5||2.5|
|Base On Balls||3||2||1.25|
|Hit By Pitch||3||1.25|
Don’t think that if a pitcher strikes out a batter, that pitcher will earn the same number of points regardless of whether they’re competing at FanDuel, DraftKings, or fantasydraft. In reality, that’s not the case at all.
The number of points assigned to each play – for example, a stolen base, a home run, an earned run allowed, etc. – is different from site to site. You may be thinking, “So what? As long as the differences in scoring are consistent, who cares? If DraftKings gives out 3 times the number of points as FanDuel for every play, then it doesn’t matter.”
But that’s the problem. Fantasy baseball scoring is NOT consistent from site to site. If you compare them, you’ll notice that there are lots of discrepancies. The upside is that the discrepancies allow you to gain an edge.
All you have to do is tailor your draft strategy to complement each site’s scoring system. I’ll give you several tips for doing that below. Let’s take a look at how FanDuel, DraftKings, and DraftStreet – the 3 most popular daily fantasy MLB sites – score pitchers and batters.
Pitcher And Batter Scoring At FanDuel
FanDuel continues to dominate daily fantasy baseball by its sheer volume of contests. At any given point during the MLB season, you can expect to find thousands of them. So let’s start there. Here’s the current FanDuel baseball scoring system (first pitchers, then batters): *Note that if a play or feature isn’t listed, the site doesn’t award or subtract any points for it.
- Win = 4
- Earned Run = -1
- Strikeout = 1
- Inning Pitched = 1
- Single = 1
- Double = 2
- Triple = 3
- Home Run = 4
- Run Batted In = 1
- Run Scored = 1
- Base On Balls = 1
- Stolen Base = 2
- Hit By Pitch = 1
- Out = -0.25
Pitcher And Batter Scoring At DraftKings
Like FanDuel, DraftKings has a huge presence in daily fantasy baseball. The site hosts thousands of MLB contests, from 50/50s to tournaments with huge guaranteed prize pools. A lot of DFS fans prefer DraftKings because the sign-up bonus is larger than the one at FanDuel. (It’s a 100% match like the FanDuel bonus, but DraftKings matches your first deposit to a higher dollar value.) Here’s the current DraftKings baseball scoring system:
- Win = 4
- Earned Run = -2
- Strikeout = 2
- Inning Pitched = 2.25
- Hit Against = -0.60
- Base On Balls Against = -0.60
- Hit Batter = -0.60
- Complete Game = 2.50
- Complete Game Shut Out = 2.50
- No Hitter = 5
Draft Kings Batters
- Single = 3
- Double = 5
- Triple = 8
- Home Run = 10
- Run Batted In = 2
- Run Scored = 2
- Base On Balls = 2
- Stolen Base = 5
- Caught Stealing = -2
Pitcher And Batter Scoring At Victiv
Victiv does things quite differently than the big two sites. Instead of just picking a pitcher, you draft a squad of pitchers and no matter who throws for your team you’ll be scoring points the entire night.
Innings Pitched = +2.25 pts
Strikeout = +0.40 pts.
Earned Runs | -2 pts.
Hit or hit equivalent | -0.25 pts.
Shutout | +1 pts.
No Hitter | +2 pts.
Complete Game | +2 pts
Perfect Game | +5 pts
Daily Fantasy Baseball: What Is A Point Worth?
You probably noticed a lot of differences between the daily fantasy MLB scoring systems used at FanDuel, DraftKings, and Victiv. For example, FD will give you 4 points if your pitcher wins a game while Victiv doesn’t give you any. DraftKings will award you 8 points if one of your batters scores a triple while FanDuel only awards you 3 points for the same feat. As we noted earlier, if the differences were consistent between the sites, there wouldn’t be any reason to discuss them. In other words, if DraftKings always awarded 3 times the number of points as FanDuel, you could practically ignore their respective scoring systems. But as you can see from the numbers posted above, that’s not what is happening. For instance, take a look at the number of points given for a strikeout at FanDuel and DraftKings and Victiv:
Number of Points Awarded For “x”
- FanDuel strikeout = 1
- DraftKings strikeout = 2
- Victiv strikeout = 1
DK gives twice the number of points as FD. So far, so good. But take a look at the number of points given by the two sites for each inning pitched:
- FanDuel Inning Pitched = 1
- DraftKings Inning Pitched = 2.25
- Victiv Inning Pitched – 2.25
DK gives you MORE than twice the points as FD. Think about what that means. If you draft a pitcher who has a phenomenally sturdy arm, and he logs more innings than an equally-skilled pitcher, you would come out ahead at DraftKings. With Victiv you get the entire staff so unless you go into overtime the value of 2.25 points for innings pitched is weakened.
The MLB scoring systems used by the top DFS sites are rife with these types of discrepancies. Here’s something else to think about: notice how some of the plays listed in the Victivet scoring system are missing from the scoring systems used by FanDuel and DraftKings?
Think about that from a draft strategy perspective. Suppose you draft a few sluggers who have a habit of swinging at everything that’s thrown to them. They stand a greater-than-average chance of striking out. If you’re playing at DraftStreet, those strikeouts will hurt your score. Not so at FanDuel and DraftKings – at least not directly.
How much a point is worth depends on where you’re playing and the players you draft for your lineup. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with each site’s scoring system. Knowing how plays are scored gives you an opportunity to pick players that are more likely to help you leverage the differences. I’ll explain this in greater detail below, starting with pitchers.
Analyzing Daily Fantasy MLB Pitcher Scoring
Again, we want to identify the inconsistencies. That’s what is going to give us an edge. Let’s approach the problem like this… We’re going to take the number of points awarded for a given play and calculate it as a percentage of the number of points awarded to you if your pitcher wins.
From that point, we can make better decisions regarding how much money to spend on pitchers.
At FanDuel, your pitcher earns 4 points for a win. You’ll receive 1 point – or 25% of the points given for a win – for each strikeout and 1 point (again, 25%) for each inning pitched.
At DraftKings, you’ll earn 4 points for a win, just like at FanDuel. But there, you’ll earn 2 points – 50% of the points given for a win – for each strikeout and 2.25 points (56%) for each inning pitched.
At Victiv, your pitcher will not earn any points for a win, but does get points for strikeouts.
From those numbers, we can immediately see that drafting a pitcher who has a strong strikeout percentage is more important at DraftKings and Victiv than it is at FanDuel.
Strikeouts are worth more at those two sites. They’re weighted more heavily. If you’re playing at FanDuel, don’t blow your budget on a high-salary pitcher who has a high strikeout rate. You’ll receive less value for your money. Save your budget for your offense.
You can run the same type of analysis for other plays. Take the number of points awarded or deducted for a play and calculate it as a percentage of the number of points given for a win. Doing so will reveal how important that particular play is at the DFS site.
Analyzing Daily Fantasy MLB Batter Scoring
When choosing batters, you can run through the same process we ran through above. Take each play and calculate its weight as a percentage of the number of points earned for something else, such as a home run. Let’s go through an example. We’ll compare the numbers of points given for base hits at DraftKings and Victiv as percentages of the number of points given for a home run at the two sites. I’ve included a quick breakdown for DK and DS below for easy reference. The percentages reflect the respective “weights” for singles, doubles, and triples as measured against a home run.
FanDuel Batter Scoring
- Single = 1 (25%)
- Double = 2 (50%)
- Triple = 3 (75%)
- HR = 4
DraftKings Batter Scoring
- Single = 3 (33%)
- Double = 5 (50%)
- Triple = 8 (80%)
- Home Run = 10
Victivt Hitter Scoring
- Single = 1.25 (25%)
- Double = 2 (40%)
- Triple = 3 (60%)
- Home Run = 5
Notice how singles and triples are worth more as a percentage of the points given for a home run at DraftKings? That means you might do well by drafting hitters who maintain a high career OBP (on base percentage).
Don’t be intimidated by any of the analysis I’ve outlined above. The math is easy and you can come up with the numbers you need in minutes. The most important thing to remember is that each of the top daily fantasy baseball sites uses a different scoring system. Those systems have inconsistencies. Learn to exploit them to give your lineup an edge.
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